Buttler recalled to England Test squad, Bess earns maiden call
Jos Buttler has been included in England's Test squad to face Pakistan in a two-match series starting later this month, while rookie spinner Dom Bess has earned a surprise maiden call-up.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler played the last of his 18 Tests against India in Chennai in December 2016, when he batted at seven while Jonny Bairstow took the gloves.
Despite averaging a reasonable 31.36 from 30 innings, Buttler's hopes of returning to the five-day fold were written off in some quarters given his subsequent lack of red-ball action. He has not played a first-class match since September.
However, a scintillating purple patch in the Indian Premier League, where he has scored five consecutive fifties for Rajasthan Royals, has earned Buttler a recall in Ed Smith's first party since being appointed national selector.
Smith has also called up uncapped 20-year-old off-spinner Dom Bess, who is chosen after Somerset team-mate Jack Leach - a debutant in England's last Test - sustained a broken thumb.
Despite an unbeaten double-century for Hampshire this week at Taunton, James Vince has been left out of the squad, but Mark Stoneman keeps his place and is set to open with Alastair Cook.
There is still no place for Moeen Ali, who was dropped for the second Test in New Zealand in March, while Mark Wood and Chris Woakes seem likely to battle it out for one spot in England's seam attack alongside James Anderson, Stuart Broad and all-rounder Ben Stokes.
"Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career. He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and when he has been given opportunities with England representative teams," said Smith.
"With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom's strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.
"Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England's white-ball teams. The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven.
"Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team."
England face Pakistan in the first Test at Lord's starting on May 24, before the second encounter at Headingley from June 1.
England squad for Pakistan series: Joe Root, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.